Coach John Wooden Passes Away at 99.

*FTR: Though this post originally went live at 3:07pm PST June 3rd,  as  late as 9:22am PST on June 4th, formal/official reports stated Coach Wooden is in “gravely ill” condition while paradoxically “resting comfortably.” That said, both Bill Walton and Bill Sharman spoke of Coach in the past tense. “We said goodbye today,” Sharman said. “I think he realized it.

John Wooden: UCLA Coach, Teacher, Legend and Wonderful Human Being

(In Memoriam, 1910 – 2010)

As a UCLA alum (Class of 2000), I was privileged to meet Coach Wooden at Pauley Pavilion on one instance, where he handled himself with the class, integrity & elegance for which he is known. I didn’t get more than a “nice to meet you” and a (surprisingly) firm handshake, but even during that brief instance it was evident that this man was genuine, sincere & a good person.

I was also fortunate enough to be able to experience the Scully & Wooden. . .for the Kids with my father (The Count), who presented me with the tickets as a gift. . .and a cherished evening, as both Vin and Coach regaled the audience with anecdotes of their wonderful careers, philosophies & outlooks. I remember Bill Walton’s video tribute to Wooden, where he most remembered coming onto the UCLA campus as a highly-touted freshman ready to be Big Man on Campus, wondering what the legendary Coach would have him do first. . .which ended up being an entire session dedicated to putting on his socks & tying his shoes properly.

More notably, the moderator (TJ Simers) asked the question, If heaven exists, what would they like God to say when they arrive at the pearly gates? Wooden’s response? “Well done,” sparking laughter, applause & a knowing & collective wink from the rapt audience.

Now that the unfortunate circumstances are indeed upon us, I think that God will consider that an understatement.

Here’s to Coach Wooden, R.I.P.

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43 comments

  1. james conetta

    I JUST PICKEDTHIS UP @ 4:00 P.M.
    I WAS NOT AWARE OF HIS DEATH.
    HE WAS A WONDERFUL MAN & HIS
    LIFE IMPACTED SO MANY. HE WILL BE
    MISSED.

    JIMMY C.

  2. nyorklebron

    I am not a ucla fan but as soon as i read this i was nearly crying. John Wooden has meant more to the sport of basketball and the game of life than any one person. He is truly a saint, and anybody needs to read his Pyramid of Success to really understand the proper way to approach life.

  3. minoroots

    You posted this entry at 3:10pm. CBS reported that coach was in “grave condition” at 3:44 pm. Are you jumping the gun on this, or do you have some inside info?

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  5. steelersfanbigben

    I grew up in Indiana where Coach Wooden is from. He is a homegrown, humble hero in the Midwest and did not lose his way when he moved to the West Coast. For that alone he should be commended and it’s really unfortunate that he had to leave us.

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  7. Bridget

    If Goodman is “just reporting internally approved release from the University” don’t you think out of respect for the Wooden family you let them announce it? If he has passed and word isn’t out yet about it then maybe they’re not ready.

  8. Ed Stone

    Washington Post website has a photo montage under the banner of Coach having passed, but as of this moment have not heard confirmation from any legitimate news outlet.

  9. K

    You are completely ignorant. He has not passed away. Check your sources before you claim something like this. What a terrible thing to do.

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  12. Michael A Pikos

    Coach Wooden will be missed by many. Thank God for giving us such a beautiful man–an incredible role model for us all. May he ret in eternal peace with our Lord—his faith was as strong as his work ethic. Thank you for what you stood for—good old fashioned core values–integrity,honesty, responsibility,accountability,strong work ethic and humility. What a man!

  13. BruinsForever

    Coach was and is a great educator, mentor and coach. I had couple of great conversations with him in the late 80’s when I was a student at UCLA. He was genuinely interested in communicating with me as he has done so unselfishly so often.
    His Pyramid of Success is an amazing tool for athletes and people of all age. I use it with my Little Leaguers and Boy Scouts to teach them “team”.
    The world is a better place for Coach and I will always cherish my moments with him.

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  16. reyrodriguez

    I am not sure John Wooden is dead but either way this is a nice tribute to a Great Coach. From what I hear and read this is imminent news regardless, so despite the premature reporting he would be proud. Please be more careful next time tho.

  17. SuinBruin47

    You really should take this post down. The man is still alive, for pete’s sake. The rush to announce Coach Wooden’s death is ghoulish and unbecoming.

  18. saviours of alliance

    im tired of the controversy, the fact is that Coach has passed and our feelings do not change based on that date or time. lessons learned and love lost, but lives improved are the measure. good output.

  19. SON OF SAM

    HEY BRIDGET WHY DONT YOU STOP TRYING TO BE FUCKIN NANCY DREW AND ISSUE AN APOLOGY FOR BEING SUCH AN IDIOT

    REAL SOURCES LIKE THE UCLA NEWSROOM GIMME A FUCKIN BREAK

    GROW UP STUPID

  20. DMOZ

    I feel like I’m constantly looking for interesting things to read about a variety of subjects, but I manage to include your blog among my reads every day because you have honest entries that I look forward to. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more great material coming! I love the Bruins.

  21. ZelviaRose

    good story. wooden is an alltime legend, and is probably too good of a person to just be remembered as a coach.

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